Lesson Fifteen



Memory Verse: Colossians 3:9
Further Study: Genesis 25:7-11, 19-34; 27:1-40; Patriarchs and Prophets 177-182; The Story of Redemption 87-89; The Bible Story, vol. 2, pp. 9-19

As I write, I have at least two job opportunities open to me. Mind you, they aren’t genuine offers, but I’m aware of their potential. The temptation to begin thinking whether either is something I want to do with my life before they even materialize is great. In fact, I could perhaps think of ways to make them more probable.

This is a bit like Rebekah and Jacob in our story. We tend to focus on Jacob. He is, after all, the one who will move on in the story. But to do so is to miss the important lesson that comes from all involved—a lesson in patience, or rather the lack of it. 

But to do so is to miss the important lesson that comes from all involved—a lesson in patience, or rather the lack of it.

  • Rebekah is told the future of her twins before they are even born. Like Mary, she ponders this in her heart. Like Sarah, she decides to help God.
  • Esau returns from a great adventure famished. He arrives just as Jacob is cooking a delectable pot of red lentils. The aroma drives Esau to such distraction that he cannot wait. His desire for food causes him to make a foolish decision. 
  • Jacob desires the spiritual leadership of the family. Jacob doesn’t actually have an experiential relationship with God, but he wants all that goes with it. When an opportunity presents itself to take it from Esau, he can’t wait.
  • Isaac also understands the prophecy, recognizes Esau’s lack of spiritual qualifications, but also knows Rebekah and Jacob desire its fulfillment to be in Jacob. Esau, however, is his favorite, and well, Isaac can’t wait.

Impatience. It can get the best of us, causing us to run ahead of God.

See the pattern? Impatience. It can get the best of us, causing us to run ahead of God. We see what appears to be a family with confused priorities, favoritism, and deceit and we shake our heads. What we really should be doing is recognizing that they are us. If truthful, we will admit to also being impatient. The instant gratification of today’s society has trained us to want immediate responses. This desire may get us what we want, but it can leave God out of the equation.

Although we may be tempted to race ahead to do or plan something we might think is best, allow God to work. It may take longer than we want, but if we accept each day as a gift, doing what God wants us to do for that day, it is enough. Wait on God and be renewed.

Digging Deeper 

The idea of a birthright may be something we have trouble understanding. In Old Testament times, the birthright belonged to the eldest son. It involved the inheritance of the family wealth, but more importantly it was the passing of the priesthood from the father to the son. To receive the birthright was a tremendous responsibility and one that should be cherished.

Today we may understand inheritance better. Someone bequeaths their earthly possessions and bank accounts to us. We do, however, still have a spiritual birthright. It first is expressed through our parents, primarily the mother, to the children. The mother’s attitude toward the child, her level of love, grace, and blessing that she shares along with the teaching of spiritual truth bequeaths an immeasurable wealth. But it does not end there.

As adults we choose every day whom we will serve—will we serve God or the world? To choose God is to acknowledge the spiritual birthright. To focus primarily on what the world gives is to spurn the blessing God has in store for you.  

“Esau lusted for a favorite dish, and sacrificed his birthright to gratify appetite. After his lustful appetite had been gratified he saw his folly, but found no space for repentance though he sought it carefully and with tears. There are very many who are like Esau. He represents a class who have a special, valuable blessing within their reach,—the immortal inheritance, life that is as enduring as the life of God, the Creator of the universe, happiness immeasurable, and an eternal weight of glory,—but who have so long indulged their appetites, passions, and inclinations, that their power to discern and appreciate the value of eternal things is weakened” (Testimonies to the Church, vol. 2, p. 38, emphasis supplied). 

Never let it be said that you are “selling your birthright for a mess of pottage” (Testimonies to the Church, vol. 2, p. 37).

Perhaps Hebrews 12:16 says it best: “Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite” (The Message).


Making it Real

Isaac tested Jacob using his senses. He used logic (why was Esau back so soon?), touch (apparently goat hair passed the test), hearing (the one test Jacob failed), taste (goat that tasted like venison), and smell (the final test). Make a list of how you experience God using your five senses: sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch.


Respond & Share

What ways have you found make it easier to wait on God? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being the grandmother of two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus.


Coming next week:

Based on Genesis 28:15; Genesis 27:41-46, 28-32;
PP 183-198; SR 89-96; BS, vol. 2, pp. 20-35


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